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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 11/04/2018

ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 11/04/2018

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The Guardian – Julia Carrie Wong / Congress tried to crack Zuckerberg – but Facebook still has all the power

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stuck to his company’s founding myth throughout the Congressional hearing: users are in control of the data they “share” with Facebook.
  • Zuckerberg conceded that “the system worked as it was designed” when Aleksandr Kogan harvested the data: “The issue is that we designed the system in a way that wasn’t good.”
  • No matter how much political hay elected officials might maze out of criticizing Facebook, they are just as locked into the system as other users are.
  • Legislation, regulation or anti-trust action could change that by loosening Facebook’s stranglehold on our data and attention, but all three are exceedingly unlikely in the current political climate.

Financial Times – Tobias Bück & Roman Olearchyk / Merkel warns Nord Stream 2 must protect Ukraine role

  • Speaking after a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, German chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project can only go ahead in Ukraine’s role as a transit country for Russian gas is protected.
  • Merkel said she had made the same point in a telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin the previous day.
  • Last week, Alexei Miller, Gazprom chief executive, was quoted predicting that his company would cut transit through Ukraine by a factor of 10 after Nord Stream became operational, which is due to happen towards the end of next year.
  • Merkel’s intervention, which suggested a hardening of Germany’s position regarding Nord Stream 2, followed a series of unusually critical statements towards Russia made by Heiko Maas, Germany’s new foreign minister.

Project Syndicate – Kemal Dervis & Caroline Conroy / Europe’s double opportunity

  • According to the Eurobarometer, two thirds of EU citizens believe that the EU offers hope for Europe’s youth – an increase of six percentage points from 2016.
  • Whatever barriers Italy may pose to greater EU integration are unlikely to be insurmountable, as long as France and Germany exercise decisive leadership.
  • Europe no longer appears to be a continent in crisis. In this context, the EU may be facing two related opportunities: internally, increasing efficiency and advancing integration; externally, standing for international cooperation, human rights and open society.
  • With the European Single Market still boasting a larger GDP than China or the US, the EU can act as a third “pole” in a new world order.

Foreign Affairs – Bill Gates / Gene editing for good

  • Today, more people are living healthy, productive lives than ever before. Continued progress, however, is not inevitable. Ultimately, eliminating the most persistent diseases and causes of poverty will require scientific discovery and technological innovations.
  • That includes CRISPR and other technologies for targeted gene editing, which are helping scientists discover better diagnostics and treatments, while enabling millions of farmers in the developing world to grow crops and raise livestock that are more productive, nutritious and hardy.
  • Given that only female mosquitoes can spread malaria, researchers have used CRISPR to successfully create gene drives – making inheritable edit to their genes – that cause females to become sterile or skew them toward producing mostly male offspring. That is only one of the ways in which CRISPR may become a means to end malaria.
  • While there are legitimate concerns related to gene editing, one of its advantages is that it does not produce transgenic plants or animals – meaning it does not involve combining DNA from different organisms, but deleting or altering specific sections of DNA.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces. 


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